When you hear the word meeting, what’s your gut reaction?
The other day, I was listening to a podcast about productivity where the guest was bemoaning the amount of time that we waste on meetings. Curious if this feeling was the norm, I decided to turn to my LinkedIn community and ask: “When you hear the word ‘meeting,’ what is the first time that comes to mind?”
Well, over 8,000 views and 75 comments later, I got my answer.
You turn on your phone, and a familiar message flashes across the screen. It’s a request to update to the new and improved version of some app or software. You ignore it.
The next day, the same message comes up during an important meeting. And once again, you hit “not now.”
Then, a few days later, it happens again. Annoyed, you ignore the message, telling yourself that you’ll deal with it later.
A couple of weeks later, you find out that some of your friends and colleagues have certain helpful features on their phones that you don’t have, making you feel outdated. The only difference? They took action—they clicked “update.”
I was once discussing with two business partners how to upgrade their company’s technology. When I suggested we first examine their current order processing system, one partner launched excitedly into a detailed explanation of how it all works: Orders are taken by phone, then someone handwrites an order form, then it goes to billing, and so on and so forth. He explained the ins and outs of their complicated system for tracking orders, packing and shipping items at their warehouse. Read more
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You planned a Monday meeting, but the time arrives and you’re busy or tired, and you decide to reschedule for Tuesday. On Tuesday, something important comes up, so you reschedule for the next day. Before you know it, Friday rolls around and you still have not had that meeting, so you postpone it until the following Monday.
The cycle continues, until you actively decide that enough is enough, and you’re going to make that meeting a priority.
We all know that feeling.
The one when you finish your workweek, only to realize that you didn’t even get to the most important tasks on your list.
People always ask me, “With so much going on how do you manage your time?” The truth is there is no magic solution, but there are learnable principles that anyone can use to be more productive.
With winter fast approaching, I’ve heard from many business owners that they’re planning to attend trade shows and conferences. So I thought I’d tell you a story.
I’ll never forget our first trade show. We were so excited about connecting with some great prospects. After the show, we got back to the office, and someone asked, “Who’s got the bag with the business cards?” (Mind you, this was back in the pre-digital age.) After a heart-wrenching search, we realized that the hard-won cards had been completely misplaced, probably still attending the trade show under a forgotten table.
I took my family on a trip to an amusement park a few weeks ago, and like most parents, I had a vivid picture in my mind of how the day would go. I saw the smiles and laughter on my kids’ faces. I heard their happy squeals as they went on the rides. I felt the good vibes from the amusement park staff as they helped my kids onto the rides.
So you could imagine the disappointment I felt when, as we waited in line for the park’s most thrilling rollercoaster, I noticed that the attendant, a young man in his late teens, was helping kids get on and off with a look of total and utter boredom and indifference—even a little resentment. For someone whose job it is to give kids a good time, he showed zero signs of enthusiasm.
A business owner once told me she had to let go of an employee for creating a toxic work environment. This employee had been sharing personal complaints about the owner with coworkers, rather than bringing them up directly with her. It soon became popular to talk behind the owner’s back, and before long, the circulating negativity caused a rift between her and the team. Obviously, morale and productivity suffered greatly.
Was this employee a liability? Definitely. But there’s also more to the picture. It’s possible that this business owner created an environment that discouraged people from speaking their mind productively.